Vasant Vyakhanmala (Spring time Lecture series) is a most remarkable undertaking. It’s an annual event that was first held in 1875 in Pune by social reformer Justice Ranade and is being held every year since. Many of India’s top leaders & visionaries have spoken at the event and I am told that it was especially popular in the pre-independence era, with 1000s attending the lectures.
Unfortunately it has faded since and this is the first time in 15 yrs that I have noticed the Vasant Vyakhanmala, primarily because I have started reading Pune Marathi newspapers lately. I fail to understand how & why the English press chooses to ignore something so integral to Pune city’s heritage. Not only does the news section ignore the lectures but even the “today’s events” section does not mention it. This perhaps shows that in the age of ‘paid news’, content & quality are not as important as PR strategies & ad budgets.
The organizers also should take some blame, as they seem to have restricted their scope to the Marathi speaking populace & perhaps only bother about getting some coverage in the Marathi press. The online presence of the Vasant Vyakhanmala is so bad that it could be a case study for an Internet For Business Development course 🙂
I attended the lectures yesterday & the day before, by Supriya Sule & Rohini Nilekani respectively and I have certainly come out enriched from the experience. Yesterday I visited the VV office and picked up the schedule for 2010, scanned it and have put it up here. While the series is half way through, there still are some good lectures to go.
The youth presence at the lectures is quite appalling, with maybe 95% of the audience being 50+ yrs. I hope that at least some of Pune’s youth notice this post & make it a point to attend. The timings are 6:30 to 8:00 pm & the entry fee is just Rs5, add Rs5 for vehicle parking charges.
While most lectures are in Marathi, there are speakers like Rohini Nilekani, who spoke in English interspersed with Marathi. I hope to see you at Vasant Vyakhanmala 2010. True geeks could network via foursquare or tweet their experience at Vasant Vyakhanmala 2010.